About Sebastian Liew
'One of the most unique and talented practitioners of natural healing and herbalism’
Matthew Wood RH (American Herbalist Guild), author of The Earthwise Herbal and The Book of Herbal Wisdom.
Corporate life in my 20s
This is my Story
Initially, after graduating from the Singapore Polytechnic with a diploma in Engineering, I pursued a corporate career in various multinational companies. Despite a relatively successful career in the corporate world, I felt a deep sense of discontentment. I could not handle the never-ending office politics. Working daily in the office was like going for a war. I felt the emptiness in my heart had worsened over the years, so much so, I was on anti-depressants for some time. I had finally got down on my knees and started praying for God's guidance and direction. "Surely, the Universe does not want me to be in this shit. I don't think I want to live like this anymore." I had thought.
Started practice in 1999
Soon after, I started to do a lot of research and took courses in various holistic therapies, such as, spa therapy, reflexology, aromatherapy, touch therapy, and nutrition. Despite my passion and interest in these fields, I was not prepared to give up my full-time managerial position and a good salary. Besides, I was the sole breadwinner in my family. I needed to support the physical, financial, and emotional needs of my elderly parents then. How could I give up my lucrative job? After a period of part-time work in natural therapies, my decision to finally pursue a full-time career in natural medicine occurred in a spiritual moment. I was conducting a massage training at a retreat on an organic farm in Malaysia. After three days of eating organic plant foods and being surrounded by plants and herbs, an indescribable joy sprang from within me. There felt like this spring of water refreshing my heart. The calling from plants and the awareness of God's love for me was so strong that I shed tears during the sharing session with the participants and the organizers. After this spiritual awakening, I began my relentless journey to pursue plant medicine. All good things came my way, like meeting the right teachers, guides, and helping hands. I am very thankful for them. The rest is history.
A spiritual transformation with plants
My mission is to empower people with chronic health conditions to work together with us to self-heal naturally and promote optimal wellness through phytotherapy. I love to see you stay vibrant in body, mind, and soul, finding your true self and the grace to love yourself, others, and nature. I invite you to join my mission, become part of a community of like-minded people, and help others.
Why have I started
Leaf to Life®?
For the past twenty years, I have been prescribing high-quality practitioner-grade herbal extracts and supplements or nutraceutical products for my clients to support the healing of their chronic health conditions. They have full confidence in the practitioner grade products I dispense in my clinic and the professional and holistic protocols that come with them. Along the way, I realized I needed to focus on preventive health since this is one of the primary duties of a naturopath – the doctor is a teacher of health. I wanted to reach out to more people in Singapore and beyond through teaching and to make my remedies available for the public. I was looking for the herb Phyllanthus emblica (Indian gooseberry or amla) as it is one of the most established and evidence-based herbal remedies for total wellness. In the process of herb sourcing, I learned much what quality standards to look out for if I wish to create a high-quality product. The final product is dependent on the quality of the ingredients. This aspect is often overlooked in the mass supplement market. However, my search was in vain. For example, I came across an amla product made by a well-known brand, that was found to have an inferior standard in terms of extraction methods and raw material quality.
Pharmaceutical Grade Products
Although many products claimed to be GMP certified (Good Manufacturing Practice), their quality still varies because the FDA (USA) gives manufacturers wide latitude to define their own 'established specifications.' As a result, some choose to be quality leaders, while others do not.
The American Botanical Council estimated that up to 30% of herbal products sold are adulterated with cheaper substitutions with the highest incidence reported in US internet sellers.
Some unscrupulous ingredient suppliers intentionally spike herbs with pharmaceutical ingredients to produce quick results, especially for those products dealing with beauty, weight loss, and sexual performance. Some marketers would impress customers with the term standardized extracts. In actuality, nobody knows the clinical pharmacology of some herbs such as St John wort. One can standardize St John's wort to hypericin, but this is not necessarily correlated to its efficacy. Herbs are much more complicated compared to any single ingredient, such as vitamin C or a pharmaceutical drug.
Professional Membership /Ethics
Medicinal herbs are at risk for contamination with environmental toxins. There is no regulatory requirement to test for heavy metals in raw herbs used in your food products.Also, most herbal products are not correctly formulated. They are usually not formulated by an experienced and qualified herbalist. Most of them are mixed based on their biochemical properties, as pharmaceutical drugs would be. The formulations do not consider the herbs' energetic properties, their actions on the organs, the organ affinities, the potential toxicities, the right synergies between the herbs, etc. As a result, when consumed over the long term, such products may cause more harm than good.
Recognition for European traditional medicine
The problem is not whether the product or ingredient comes from a developing or third world country. It is a problem when the buyer and the formulator buy the cheapest and low-quality stuff. With so many complexities in herbal products' quality and a great desire to benefit my clients, I have decided to start Leaf to Life®.
- First Asian Western herbalist in Singapore, and probably in Asia, with a doctorate degree in naturopathy and a master's degree in herbal medicine (Australia).
- More than twenty years of clinical experience and distinguished in the healing of complex or rare health conditions.
- Accredited/professional member with the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia.
- The first in Singapore, and probably in Asia, to popularise Western herbal medicine and was awarded the Hildegard prize (Hildegard society, Germany) for pioneering German herbal medicine in Asia.
- Winner of the Natural medicine Specialist awarded by Global health and Pharma (UK), Year 2018, 2019.
- Founder of Leaf to Life ® - Western herbal product brand, providing evidenced-based ingredients, synergistic blend formulations, and holistic protocols.